The wind howled around me, engulfing me in the cold. My nose and ears stung, and I couldn’t feel my hands. I couldn’t feel my feet either, but, oh, it did hurt to walk.
My entire body had a cold, numb ache to it, but the pain in my heart was excruciating. It weighed me down, suffocated me, and filled my eyes with frozen tears.
I am an orphan. My parents died when the stalfos took over the Market and burned everything to ashes. They had been killed, just like most of the Hylians who had lived in the Market. I didn’t see it, but I heard it.
“Mother! Father! Where are you?”
The girl ran into the street. Fire was everywhere. Houses were burning, people were screaming. Dying. Everywhere…it surrounded her.
“Aerin!” a voice called, barely audible above the screams of the terrorized.
Aerin ran towards the sound of her mother’s voice. When she saw her mother, she stretched out her arms to embrace her. But then she screamed and stopped dead.
A stalfos had emerged just behind her mother, holding a torch. It’s red eyes flared and it’s bony face held what would have been a morbid smile.
Her mother whirled around and screamed.
Aerin ran as fast as her legs could carry her. Her mother’s screams of pain echoed in her head.
Everything seemed to be going in slow motion; every detail of terror was precise. People’s faces at their moments of death, children’s tear and ash stained faces, the fire, the stalfos with their mad grins and their sharp blades…
Aerin ran on and on, not going anywhere in particular. It simply felt good to run from the fear.
So easy to run from the fear…
Aerin looked for her father as she ran. It didn’t take her long to find him. He lay on the ground, a bloody heap with a sword in his back. His eyes were empty with death.
Aerin screamed and continued to run, faster than before. She ran to towards the gate that led to Hyrule Field, leaving the pain and death behind.
My life is a nightmare. There can’t be any good left in this world. We’ve been stripped of our hopes.
Yes, hope is gone. And it’s never coming back.
Snowflakes block my view, though it’s already blurry from my unshed tears. I’ve been walking in this cold, white maze for a number of hours now. The winters of Hyrule are deadly, but never in the short thirteen years of my life had I experienced one such as this.
I think I might die soon. But, what does it matter? It would only be for the better. Mother has made me promise several times to never end my life by my own hands, and I will keep that promise.
I think the cold might kill me instead. I feel it will happen soon.
Must the snow be so terribly cold? Why isn’t it beautiful anymore? I remember how much I loved snow. I remember how I loved to watch that fluffy white snow cover the entire Market in a beautiful white, glistening blanket.
Now it’s my blanket of death.
I miss my family so much. I’ll never be lifted into my father’s strong arms again… I’ll never hear my mother’s soft voice…
I loved them so much. I always will. Where did they go? Why did they leave me, why?
Suddenly, my knees give way and I’m laying face down in the snow. My face stings so much. That physical ache is worse than ever now. It feels good to lay here…to give in to my weariness. I think I’ll just lay here forever…
I feel myself slipping away…when suddenly, in the distance; I hear the sound of a horse’s whinny. I hear the rider dismount the horse, but I don’t know what to think or do. I am too weak to feel any resistance towards anything.
The mysterious rider turns me over on my back and I feel something lightly pressed against my chest for a few seconds. Then, strong arms curl under me and I’m lifted up. I’m laid stomach-down upon…the horse. Its mane is soft against my face.
I hear the stranger mount the horse behind me, and a blanket of some type is draped over me.
“Hiyeh!” I heard the stranger’s voice. It was a kind voice, with a strong hint of determination in it.
The horse was off at a gallop and the rider laid a firm hand on my back to keep me from falling off.
Now the sounds are becoming softer…I feel so heavy…like I should fall, but I can’t fall any further…so heavy…
Am I still alive?
I feel so…warm. My fingers twitch and I feel the soft sheets under my fingers, not just my fingers...
It doesn’t take me long to figure out I’m naked. Dozens of blankets are piled on top of me. It feels…wonderful. My whole body is in enveloped in utter softness and warmth.
I still feel heavy. I struggle to open my eyes and they twitch a bit before they slowly open. I can’t move my head so I use my eyes to skim my surroundings. The bed I lay in is set in a small cove, so I can’t see much. Judging by the ceiling and walls, the house seems to be made completely of wood. A large fireplace with a roaring fire is not far from where I lay, and it’s the only source of light in the room.
There are voices…I strain to hear what they are saying.
“Will you take care of the child? Will you help her?” It was his voice, the man who had saved me.
“Of course, I cannot just leave her like that!” A deep feminine voice answered.
“I cannot thank you enough, milady.”
I couldn’t see them, but I could see their shadows. The woman had a plump and rather short figure, while the man was tall and slender. I could tell he carried many weapons. The man took what looked like a sack from his waist, dug into it, and extended his hand towards the woman. I couldn’t tell what it was he held.
“Take this, it is what little I can repay you,” he said.
“Oh, no! I do not take money to care for a deathly ill child.”
She pushed his hand away.
“Your livestock is low, you will need this.”
“I can manage. I cannot take your money.”
I watched the man’s shadow take her hand and place whatever he held into it. Then he closed her hand over it.
“Then I reward you.”
His shadow turned to leave.
I tried to shout to him, but I couldn’t find my voice.
The woman’s shadow also vanished from the wall I was watching, so I listened intently.
“You are indeed the Hero of Time.” She said.
Hero of Time?
The man didn’t respond, or if he had I didn’t hear him. There was some hesitation before the door opened and closed.
Hero of Time…
I had heard so many legends about him. About that man who would save our world from evil and fight for justice, wielding the Master Sword.
The man with a heart of gold…
My life had been slipping away, but the Hero of Time had given it back to me.
He gives so much and asks for nothing…
Could there still be…?
Light against darkness…victory will be his.
If the Goddesses be willing, there is still hope.
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